Not My Longest Walk

I did it!  I made it!  I’m at work!  I’m a Seattleite.  For those of you who don’t know, we are terrified of driving in the snow.  And we suck at it.  Seriously.  It’s bred into us.

Last night, I decided that I would be going to work this morning.  I would walk because we all know there’s no way I’m going to drive.  So, I prepared all I could the night before, setting my alarm for an hour early.  When I got up, I packed a backpack and headed out.

When I walked out of my front door into the dark morning, I was bundled up from head to foot.  I was even wearing a scarf.  I normally avoid wearing scarfs because I detest it when my face is swimming around with my own warm exhales.  I feel muggy and smothered.  Not wanting my nose to freeze and break off, I tolerated the scarf for as long as I could.  Finally, when I could take it no longer, I pulled it down around my neck.  It was then that I realized that it was still snowing.  Tiny snowflakes landed on my bare skin, letting me know they were there.

When I made it out to the main road where there are street lights, I saw the multitude of flakes flying near the bright yellow lights.  When I looked down, I saw the shadows they cast as they flurried about.  It was then that I noticed the billions of microscopic stars which had landed on the ground during the night.  They sparkled up at me, making me smile.

I enjoyed the walk for the most part.  At one point, the view was so lovely that I stopped to take a picture, which kinda made my walk more enjoyable.  I might even stop at that particular park and take more pictures this afternoon.

Luckily, I had recently bought walking poles, so they helped to keep me upright during my journey.  Or at least, for most of my journey.  I saw a blue corner of something sticking out of the snow.  Right as I was trying to figure out what it was, I realized it was slick.  I temporarily lost my footing.  Luckily, I was able to disperse my weight onto my poles, so I didn’t land on my hind end.  I was pretty pleased with myself.

Unfortunately, pride comes before the fall, right?  A few minutes later, it happened.  I fell fast and hard.  I didn’t even have time to yell my favorite expletive, let alone catch myself.  I don’t even remember the actual fall.  I remember the slip and then the landing.  It was all just so fast.  Luckily, I landed on my most well-padded part, so no harm was done.  Except for maybe to my ego.

My poles were also good for gauging distances for me.  Since I had never walked this route in the summer, let alone covered with inches of snow, I didn’t know the terrain.  My poles were frequently sent ahead of me on expeditions.  How high would I need to step to clear that curb?  How far down was that next step?  Is that ground or a slushy puddle?  It was nice to have my assistants with me.

They also helped with the uneven terrain.  It had snowed yesterday, as well.  People had walked in the melting snow, making a slushy mess.  During the night, those grooves had frozen and then been snowed on.  Either snow or slush would have been easier to walk on than the frozen, bumpy path on which I walked.  I frequently blazed my own trail just because it was easier on my legs.  Other times, it simply wasn’t possible.

I had chosen not to take my iPod with me.  I was so well wrapped up that I needed to use any senses I could to be aware of my surroundings.  It was silent and lovely for most of the first part of my walk.  The falling frozen fluffy precipitation made no sounds, only my feet crunching in the snow and the click-click of my walking poles as they hit the ground below the snow powder. 

There was also the occasional sound of an engine approaching as yet another Crazyhead drove on the ice-covered road.  Sometimes the sound of chains accompanied an engine.  I even heard a couple of generators and snow blowers breaking the silence.

At one point, I smelled donuts.  Figuring there was no way I could smell my favorite donut shop three blocks away, I looked up to find the source.  It was the little Hispanic store I’ve passed almost every day for the past five years.  I had no idea they made fresh donuts.  As this thought was settling, a new smell wafted to me.  I looked closely at the fine print on their store.  They also sell fast food.  Huh.  Who knew?

As I walked, I looked for signs that I had made a good choice in walking to work instead of driving.  Sure, the radio announcers suggested that everyone stay home.  There is a winter warning out.  But, does that mean that I couldn’t have made it to work?  I watched the drivers beside me.  I mean, I even saw cars smaller than mine making the journey.  One big truck was sliding up the hill.  A crossover slid through an intersection.  Yup.  I did the right thing.

I made it to work safely.  It only took me an hour and a half.  I’ve walked an hour longer than that before.  While the walk wasn’t the longest I’ve ever done, it was the most strenuous.  My legs are screaming at me from making them keep me upright over the rocky terrain.

Here’s the big problem.  It was all downhill.  Tonight, after work, I get to climb back up that massive hill.  And it’s still snowing.  Ugh!

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